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March 25, 1984

Cable from Ambassador Katori to the Foreign Minister, 'Prime Minster Visit to China (Foreign Ministers’ Discussion – Relations with the Soviet Union)'

This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation

Number R037701

Primary: Asia and China

Sent: China 01:10 Year Month 25

Received: MOFA 02:28 1984 March 25


To: The Foreign Minister From: Ambassador Katori


Prime Minster Visit to China (Foreign Ministers’ Discussion - Relations with the Soviet Union) 


Number 1342 Top Secret Top Urgent Q36A

Wire 1339 Separate Wire 3


1. Regarding Japan-Soviet Relations, Cabinet Minister Abe conveyed that bilateral relations continue to be in a difficult situation. The Soviet Union is ignoring Japan’s protests over their increased activity in the Northern Territories. Japan-Soviet foreign ministerial talks occurred some time ago. Although they ended with simply conveying our respective standpoints and there was no great progress made, we believe that a line for communication should not be allowed to close.


(1) Regarding the foreign ministerial talks, we advocated for Foreign Minister [Andrei] Gromyko to visit Japan, but they responded that circumstances could not allow it. The greatest issue between Japan and the Soviet Union is the Northern Territories issue. For this reason, we cannot even enter into a peace treaty. However, when I (Cabinet Minister) invited Foreign Minister Gromyko to sit at the table for discussions, they conveyed that the Soviet Union has no intention to change its stance on the Northern Territories; they indicated that they had no intention of even considering Japan’s request. I believe that as long as this condition persists, true improvement in Japan-Soviet relations cannot occur.


(2) Although there are fundamental conflicts, such as these, the Soviet Union is a neighboring country of Japan, and so we believe that we would like to put in effort to improve relations. We reached an agreement with Gromyko that dialogue will be pursued. On the 12th and 13th of this month, although basic conflict still exists, Japan and the Soviet Union were able to discuss our issues at a high-level working-level meeting attended by Deputy Foreign Minister [Toshijiro] Nakajima.


(3) The Soviet Union hopes for economic cooperation with Japan. There is currently a very limited amount of exchange, however, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan stubbornly continues. Given that Japan is participating in economic sanctions together with Western countries, and given that there are no basic changes to the current situation, it would be a very difficult thing for Japan-Soviet economic cooperation to expand. Going forward, we would like to consult with Western countries and take a case-by-case approach that examines politics and economic considerations together.


2. Additionally, Foreign Minister Wu said the following in regards to Sino-Soviet relations:


(1) The fourth Sino-Soviet consultations ended the other day. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Qian Qichen had a discussion with Foreign Minister Gromyko. The conference had the following characteristics.


(a) In regards to bilateral relations, such as economic and technological cooperation and trade, the Soviet Union indicated a proactive attitude and conveyed that they hoped for expansion of cooperation.


(b) Regarding the so-called three obstacles, the Soviet Union had no will for concessions, and evaded the conversation. “The Soviet Union brought up the 1979 proposal to create a document on, (i) mutual confidence building measures, (ii) it was proposed to draft a document on the regulations and rules of the bilateral relationship, but China rejected this.” (Note: According to China’s request, the section in quotations will not be released publically.) In other words, as long as the three obstacles remain, it is clear that the Soviet Union is a threat to China, and so bilateral relations cannot be normalized. However, China is not opposed to an appropriate expansion of economic and technological cooperation and trade with the Soviet Union.


(2) First Deputy Chairman [Ivan] Arkhipov will visit China in May. The primary agenda will likely be the exchange of opinions regarding economic and technological cooperation. If the talks are productive, there may be modest increase in economic and technological cooperation and trade. However, China will never concede in regards to our attitude towards the three obstacles. We plan on making this known to Arkhipov during his visit.


(3) Currently, Chernenko is busy with domestic business. I believe that the Soviet Union’s expansionist and hegemonic policy will not change soon. Therefore, in the short term, it is unlikely that there will be any large changes to Sino-Soviet relations.


(4) We are grateful for your report on the conversation between Deputy Foreign Minister Nakajima and [Soviet deputy foreign minister Mikhail] Kapitsa. Kapitsa’s comments do not fit with reality, and he purposefully gave the impression that Sino-Soviet relations were going smoothly. We hope you do not believe this. In order for Sino-Soviet relations to truly normalize, future prospects must be secured. The primary reason that Sino-Soviet relations are not going well is because the Soviet Union pursues an expansionist foreign policy.  (end)


Foreign Ministers Wu Xueqian and Abe Shintaro exchange views on the Soviet Union and its policies toward China and Japan.

Document Information


2002-113, Act on Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs. Also available at the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Obtained for CWIHP by Yutaka Kanda and translated by Ryo C. Kato.


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